Two weeks ago we spoke to Trust co-founder Youssef Al-Mustafa about his experiences in the development sector. This week we would like to introduce Hassan Jenedie, co-founder of Trust Consultancy & Development and Capacity building director. He joined us to discuss the importance of capacity building and what makes Trust unique.
You originally trained as a pharmacist; can you tell us how and why you made the move into the humanitarian and development field?
When I became a pharmacist, I chose a job with that aligned with my values. I appreciate precision and accuracy but also enjoy people-centered roles that have positive effects on peoples’ lives. The decision process was the same when I decided to move into the humanitarian and development field. It seems to me that a lot of people have made peace with the idea that work is something that is separate from your values, from your passions and from your interests – something that fills the work day and pays the bills, and what you really want to do happens on the weekend and evenings. But, being a humanitarian worker is a lifestyle (a calling, if you like) – not just a job. There’s often no sharp distinction between work and the rest of your life, between your interests and passions and your job description. I count myself very lucky to be able to make a living doing work that is in alignment with my values and the things that I believe in.
Capacity building is becoming increasingly important in the development sector, why do you think this is?
From a development viewpoint, NGOs have become the main service providers in countries where the government is unable to fulﬁll its traditional role. This change in their role – from pure service delivery to capacity development means that NGOs need a wider ‘toolbox’. This is where TRUST comes in: we’re here to help NGOs and other related parties look at the gaps in their organisations and give them the right skills or tools to fill those gaps.
There are many capacity building organizations in the market, why should trainees come to Trust? What is unique about Trust?
Trust’s main focus is in consulting rather than capacity building and this works to make our capacity building unique in a number of ways. Firstly, we try to provide training in subjects which haven’t been provided before, so our consulting work helps to inform us about what areas training would be useful for from our experience in the environment the skills would be used. We also use the knowledge gained from our consultancies to prepare training materials. Trust works with international trainers and we also often meet trainers in the consulting process and this human network really helps us when it comes to providing good training. Consulting fuels capacity building and capacity building fuels consulting.
As Capacity Building Director what TRUST training event has been the most interesting and successful for you so far?
USAID Grants management training was very thought-provoking. The training combined theoretical and practical knowledge and most of the trainees also had practical cases that they wanted to discuss, so during the four-day training the debates were really interesting. Other trainees are also a valuable part of the training experience and I think everyone learnt a lot from each other and the trainer.
TRUST also encourages its own staff to take part in the training that it organises. Why do you feel that training is important for your staff?
Anyone who wants to improve and build their knowledge must train in their curriculums of choice. Anyone who wants to be an expert in any subject should train and teach these curriculums themselves! We believe that there’s always something to learn, whatever age you are and how many years’ experience you have and this is why we encourage all of our staff to attend and teach training events.
What was the best training you attended as a trainee and what skills did you take away from it?
The most amazing training I attended, was called ToT in SPHERE. The trainer Mr. Khaled Khalifa )Regional Representative of the UNHCR to the Gulf Cooperation Council) gave me a new perspective on humanitarian principles and gave us hope that we would be able to play an effective role in humanitarian sector.
Trust recently started to deliver training in Syria. Why is Capacity Building so important in Syria?
The Syrian crisis means that it’s not always possible to directly manage staff working in Syria, so to ensure that projects are carried out successfully it’s important to improve the capacity of local staff on the ground. TRUST recognised this early on and has been working for some time to expand training in the country and doing so in innovative ways. Our webcasted training sessions have been very popular and provide training in areas that would otherwise be unreachable. On a company level it’s important for us that our research staff are properly trained before taking on any project so it was necessary to find ways to expand.
You oversee the training department at TRUST while your co-founder Youssef oversees Programs. How do the training and program departments complement one another in the company?
As I already mentioned, many organisations remotely manage staff – including TRUST, So before the programs department takes on any project, we play a vital role in ensuring that our enumerator networks have the appropriate skills and therefore ensure that the final report is guaranteed to be high quality. In turn the programs department also works with us in designing practical training content – especially in training related to the M&E sector. So instead of being completely separate, we actually work together with the same goals in mind, just in different roles. It’s a partnership.